“Andy has put together a finely crafted set of songs which speak clearly of the Gospel and relate it to the experience of the man in the street (or the man in the jazz café, in this instance). His careful vocals mean that every word is heard and the diverse musical arrangements – particularly those which feature Nick Beston, and some achingly beautiful strings – are wonderfully produced.
“Some of the songs are obviously very personal and there are two or three which have a narrative style to equal the best of Tilbrook and Difford’s work with Squeeze, “He Says He Loves Her” being a prime example. “Jazz Café” makes explicit an atmosphere which really pervades the whole album and into that atmosphere Andy sings the good news of Jesus with a forthrightness that hits the listener between the eyes.
“At a time when singer/songwriters are enjoying something of a renaissance, Andy Mayo’s work is definitely up there with the best of them.”
– Ian Hayter
(Cross Rhythms Review on Release)
PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
– no champagne and music executives at this surprising CD launch.
On the 24th May, the eagerly awaited CD, ‘This is for you’ by the soulful, jazz-blues singer-song writer Andy Mayo will be released. Should we be shocked that this will not be a flashy red carpet affair?
The first concert of the “This is for you” tour is planned in an East UK prison – details are shrouded in secrecy due to security issues. After living for a decade in the war-battered Balkans, London–born Andy has seen the ‘rawer side’. Yet inspiring his music – Andy would say, even his life – is a belief that there is more to living than the passing realities that many take to be ‘the whole story’. This belief in ‘something greater’ echoes throughout the thirteen tracks on this beautifully crafted CD.
‘This is for you’ follows the success of the highly acclaimed previous album “Dreams of a Homecoming” and features ten musicians – each a show-stopper in their own right. From the melodic jazz sax soloist Nick Beston to the funk infused Stan Majerski; from the Gospel singer Natasha McDonald on backing vocals to the chamber musician Catherine Brooker on cello, these contrasting schools resonate together to form a harmonic whole in this stunning production.
“This is for You” is eclectic and yet wonderfully coherent: the sound hard to pigeon hole and yet intuitively making perfect musical sense… Andy gives a clarion call throughout this soul-stirring recording to a life of freedom and beauty – a life of fullness in personal relationship with a God He believes intimately cares for ordinary people – even to the point of dying for them in the person of Jesus Christ…
There will be an opportunity for those of us not living ‘at her majesty’s pleasure’ to experience, “This is for you” live. The first concert ‘on the outside’ will be at Oak Hall in Kent on the 1st June…
But as he prepares for the ‘Prison Premiere’, with no hint of irony, Andy explains, “Jesus’ message of life and salvation is for anyone who knows they cannot make their own way to freedom… “If you’re coming to such a point of realisation, ‘This is for you’”
And the crowds are pushing, bustling by: anonymous strangers thronging toward untold destinations – lives in their own personally-contained orbits. Some confused. Some ecstatic. Some limping towards a worrying tomorrow, others striding self-confidently ahead.
And the busker-man steps forward. He reaches out to touch your arm – to tear your attention away to another. And as the masses blindly march on, a voice whispers:
“This is for you.”
“Newly released by Andy Mayo on the Turquoise Tracks label, ‘Dreams of a Homecoming’. A fusion of funk, jazz and R&B: melting ballads contrast with driving rhythms. A lyrical poetry soaks the recording… Andy’s blues-folk vocal lines – now raw, now mellow – cut to the soul. These are songs that echo long after the CD has stopped spinning.
“Hauntingly melodic contributions from the versatile jazz saxophonist Nick Beston of “Take5” and “NBQ” complement the rich talent of Stan Mayerski on keyboards ranging from Hammond to Grand.
“Creative interplay between vocals, bass, drums, guitars, saxes, keyboards and sequencing – arrangements skilfully sculpted by Stan Mayersky – make for an imaginative, surprising recording.
“With an unlikely eclectic of influences ranging from Morcheeba to Bob Dylan; Tracey Chapman to Ronnie Jordon, these songs were written in the shelled remains of the former Yugoslav Republics where London-born Andy made his home for these last seven years. Against this stark background of civil war, bombings and deserted dwellings, a cry for peace and a homecoming stand out vividly.
“After a honing in the streets, bars, train stations and cafés of Belgrade, Vienna, Sarajevo and London, these passionate songs of longing and peace are finally available on CD.”
– press release on CD release –
Jazz ballads of the same ilk as Tracy Chapman and the like are combined with poetic lyrics on Andy Mayo’s impressive debut album. Against the backdrop of the war torn former Yugoslav Republics, where Andy spent the last seven years, Dreams… carries a message of hope and peace through all 13 tracks, from the melodic ballad ‘Today’ to the more upbeat funk of ‘The Reason’.
Best Track: ‘Pink House Peace’ – moving lyrics and soulful sax.
“Dreams of a Homecoming: it is mellow, inspiring, poetic and addictive!” – Richard, London
“Excellent. Original, spiritual, uplifting: the Message in a language and deep rhythms that we understand.” – Dominic, Wayland Prison
“What an evening! Positive, stirred, challenged. Roars and cheers and a standing ovation from a packed auditorium…” – Nick, Norfolk
…a long way from the introspective musings or stylised praise and worship of many independent releases. In fact, with contributions from jazz saxman Nick Beston (Take 5 and NBQ) and Stan Mayersky’s winning ways on Hammond and grand it’s jazz which colours many of the tracks here, though Andy wouldn’t claim to be an out-and-out jazzo.
What he is is a thoughtful observer of the carnival of life and whether he’s penning his observations of a shivering child in Belgrade (“Princess In The Park”), the quiet still voice of God (“Today”) or a hint of glory to come (“Dreams of A Homecoming”), Andy’s lyrics are decidedly poetic… his dry, world-weary voice suits the laid back mood of haunting poignancy perfectly.
These songs were written in the shelled remains of the former Yugoslav Republics where London-born Andy made his home for seven years. Yet despite the occasional bleak image his message is continually suffused with transcendent hope.